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Mary's Top 10 Varieties with Companions Posted on 19 Jan 10:17 , 0 comments

People often ask, "What you the easiest veggies to grow?"  For me, that's a tough one.  If I had to choose it would be RADISH, BASIL, BEANS, ARUGULA and Swiss Chard.   Those are arguably the easiest.  My Top 10 is another story altogether.  While I'm at it, I'm also including companion plants for each variety.

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is based around the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted next to, or close to one another.  Companion planting exists to benefit certain plants by giving them pest control, naturally without the need to use chemicals, and in some cases they can give a higher crop yield
Generally, companion planting is thought of as a small-scale gardening practice, but it can be applied on larger-scale operations. It has been proven that by having a beneficial crop in a nearby field that attracts certain insects away from a neighboring field that has the main crop can prove very beneficial. This action is called trap cropping.

CLICK HERE for a complete list of Companion Plants


BORAGE is an edible herb & Companion to many veggie varieties


And now for our Top 10 with Companions

Tomatoes
Asparagus, basil, bean,  cucumber, garlic, head lettuce, marigold, nasturtium, onion, peas, peppers

Peppers
Cucumbers, eggplant, tomato, Swiss chard and squash. Herbs to plant near them include: basil, oregano and rosemary.

Squash
Beans, corn, cucumbers, icicle radishes, melon, onions, pumpkin, Borage, Dill, Marigolds, Nasturtium, Oregano 

Beans
Carrots, celery, chards, corn, eggplant, peas, brassicas, beets, radish, strawberry and cucumbers

Cucumber
Beans, Corn, peas, beets, radishes, carrots, Dill and Nasturtiums

Eggplant
Beans, peas, peppers, spinach, tarragon, thyme and marigold

Radish
Radish (yes, it is it's own companion), beet, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, melons, nasturtium, parsnip, peas, spinach and members of the squash family.

Swiss Chard
Bean, cabbage family, tomato, onion and roses
  
Corn
Beans, cucumber, melons, morning glory, parsley, peanuts, peas, potato, pumpkin, soybeans, squash and sunflower

Onion
Planting chamomile  with onions improves their flavor. Other companions are  carrot, leek, beets, strawberries, brassicas, dill, lettuce and tomatoes. Intercropping onions and leeks with your carrots confuses the carrot and onion flies



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SEPTEMBER Seed Planting Guide for the US Posted on 12 Aug 21:20 , 5 comments

FALL is fast approaching!  Some of you are thinking about your favorite fall crops.  Those of you in warmer climates like South Florida are gearing up for big-time planting season.

Our September Seed planting Guide is HERE!!!

SEPTEMBER SEED PLANTING GUIDE
FOR THE US BY REGION


**Just a reminder for those of you with pest issues, especially tomato hornworms and squash borers**
Companion Planting is very important for your organic garden.
Plant BORAGE with tomatoes and
Nasturtiums with squash
 
FLORIDA Gardeners, we have split the state into 3 sections.  Click the links for complete details
 

Gulf Coast
Arugula, Beans, Beets, Broccoli (Transplants), Brussels Sprouts (Transplants), Carrots, Cauliflower (Transplants), Cilantro, Collard Greens, Corn, Cucumber, Endive, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Onion, Pak Choy, Parsley, Peas, Radish, Rutabaga, Sorrel, *Malabar Spinach,* Spinach, Summer Squash and Turnips 
Cover Crops: Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Oats and Wheat


SAN DIEGO
Arugula, Basil, Beans Beets , Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cilantro, Endive, Kale, Kohlrabi, Head Lettuce, Leaf Lettuce, Onion, Peas, Radicchio, Radish, Rutabaga, Sorrel, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Turnips
Southwest 
Arugula, Beans, Beets, Broccoli (transplant), Brussels Sprouts (transplant), Cabbage (transplants, Carrots, Cauliflower (transplant), Collard Greens, Endive, KALE, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Onions, Pak Choy, Peas, Radicchio, Radishes, Rutabaga, Sorrel, *Malabar Spinach,*  Spinach, Swiss Chard and  Turnips
HERBS: Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Parley, Rosemary, Tarragon and Thyme 


Southern Interior 
Arugula, Beans, Beets, Carrots, Chinese Cabbage, Cilantro, Collards greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Parsley, Pak Choy, Radish, Rutabaga, Sorrel, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Turnips 
Pacific Northwest
Arugula, Beets, Cilantro, Collard greens, Endive, Lettuce, Mache, Mustard Greens, Pak Choy, Radicchio, Radishes, Rutabaga, Sorrel and Spinach

Mid Atlantic
Arugula, Beets, Cilantro, Collard greens, Endive, Lettuce, Mache, Mustard Greens, Pak Choy, Radicchio, Radishes, Rutabaga, Sorrel and Spinach
New England & Maritime Canada
Arugula, Beets, Cilantro, Endive, Lettuce, Mache, Pak Choy, Radish, Rutabaga, Sorrel and Spinach
Cover Crops: Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Oats and Wheat

North Central & Rockies 
Arugula, Cilantro, Endive, Lettuce, Mache, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Sorrel and Spinach
Cover Crops: Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Oats and Wheat 
 

Central Midwest
Arugula, Basil, Cilantro, Collard greens, Lettuce, Mache, Mustard Greens, Peas, Radishes, Sorrel, Spinach and Turnips
Cover Crops: Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Oats and Wheat

We've added Organic Neem Oil
at Mary's Heirloom Seeds to help you grow
a healthy, organic garden!
  About Neem Oil

FREE SEEDS with purchase of  
FREE seeds with purchase of $10 or more 
SALE Ends 8/18/15

FALL Planting Guide Part 1

We are FOOD FINALISTS!
View our profile
Voting begins September 21st!!!
*We'll send out a reminder*
If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 
Happy Planting,

 


Organic Pest Control Part 4 - Final Posted on 20 Jun 07:23 , 0 comments

Welcome to the final installment of our Organic Pest Control series at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  We hope you have picked up a few new tips and tricks for your organic garden.  If you have additional questions, please ask.  Email us at mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

Mary's Heirloom Seeds
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June 19, 2015

As we said in Part 3,  "As with any form of organic growing, not every method works for everyone.  THIS is why we offer a multi-part series for organic pest control."

Here's a link to Our Videos for more info. 
If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask.
Organic Pest Control
Part 4   

In Part 1, we share about using Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth in the Garden.  We've used DE for years with success.


In Part 2, we shared detailed info about Companion Planting to reduce harmful pests in the garden and help boost crop yields with interplanting. We love Companion Planting!


Part 3 included Organic Pest Control Recipes that you can make yourself.  We also announce a product, Organic Neem Oil.  We also use Organic Neem Oil in our own garden.
About Neem Oil
The oil has a half life of three to 22 days in soil but only 45 minutes to four days in water. It is nearly non-toxic to birds, fish, bees and wildlife, and studies have shown no cancer or other disease causing results from its use. This makes neem oil very safe to use if applied properly.
Neem oil fungicide is useful against fungi, mildews and rusts when applied in a 1 percent solution.
Apply neem oil only in indirect light or in the evening to avoid the product burning foliage and allow the preparation to seep into the plant. Also, do not use neem oil in extreme temperatures, either too hot or too cold. Avoid application to plants that are stressed due to drought or over watering.


We have a few more tips for  
Organic Pest Control!
Floating Row Covers 
This translucent, white, porous polyester fabric acts as an insect barrier, while letting in up to 80 percent of the available light.You could keep the crop covered for its entire life span, although this isn't a good option for crops that require insect pollination.
Insecticidal soap contains unsaturated long-chain fatty acids (derived from animal fats) that dissolve the cuticle (skin) of insects. Insecticidal soaps are easy to make at home and can be made from completely organic ingredients.
To be effective, the insecticidal soap must come in contact with the insects while it's still liquid-it has no effect after it dries on the plants. Spray only on pests and try to avoid hitting beneficial insects with the spray.   
From Mother Earth News,
Slugs took top honors as the most bothersome pest in home gardens, with 55 percent of respondents saying the slimy critters give them trouble year after year. Handpicking was highly rated as a control measure (87 percent success rate), followed by iron phosphate baits (86 percent) and diatomaceous earth (84 percent). Opinion was divided on eggshell barriers (crushed eggshells sprinkled around plants), with a 33 percent failure rate among gardeners who had tried that slug control method. An easy home remedy that received widespread support was beer traps (80 percent success rate).
Squash bugs had sabotaged summer and winter squash for 51 percent of respondents, and even ducks couldn't solve a serious squash bug problem. Most gardeners reported using handpicking as their primary defense, along with cleaning up infested plants at season's end to interrupt the squash bug life cycle. The value of companion planting for squash bug management was a point of disagreement for respondents, with 21 percent saying it's the best control method and 34 percent saying it doesn't help. Of the gardeners who had tried it, 79 percent said spraying neem on egg clusters and juvenile squash bugs is helpful. About 74 percent of row cover users found them useful in managing squash bugs.
Gardeners named zinnias and borage as good companion plants for reducing hornworm problems.
Prevention in Key 
The easiest way to prevent insect damage in your garden is to discourage them from coming in the first place.  
A healthy garden is the best defense.
Pull out any weak plants. They may already be infected. If not, they will attract predators. Pull the plant and dispose of it away from the garden area.
Build healthy, organic soil. Natural composting methods, mulching and top-dressing your soil with compost or organic fertilizer is the best way to develop strong, vigorous plants.
Interplant and rotate crops. Insect pests are often plant specific. When plantings are mixed, pests are less likely to spread throughout a crop. Rotating crops each year is a common method to avoid re-infestation of pests which have over-wintered in the bed.

Disinfect.  If you've been working with infested plants, clean your tools before moving on to other garden areas. This will reduce the speed of invading insects.

Recent Articles:

Using Organic Neem Oil in the Garden

JUNE Seed Planting Guide for the US by Region


Mung Bean Sprout Tutorial

Benefits of Cayenne with Tincture Recipe
If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 
Happy Planting,




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Companion Planting Posted on 15 Jun 19:38 , 5 comments

Companion planting is based around the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted next to, or close to one a
nother.  Companion planting exists to benefit certain plants by giving them pest control, naturally without the need to use chemicals,
and in some cases they can give a higher crop yield
Generally, companion planting is thought of as a small-scale gardening practice, but it can be applied on larger-scale operations. It has been proven that by having a beneficial crop in a nearby field that attracts certain insects away from a neighboring field that has the main crop can prove very beneficial. This action is called trap cropping.
COMPANION PLANTING

Beans: All bean enrich the soil with nitrogen fixed form the air, improving the conditions for whatever crop you plant after the beans are finished. In general they are good company for carrots, celery, chards, corn, eggplant, peas, potatoes, brassicas, beets, radish, strawberry and cucumbers. Beans are great for heavy nitrogen users like corn and grain plants because the nitrogren used up by the corn and grains are replaced at the end of the season when the bean plants die back. Summer savory deters bean beetles and improves growth and flavor. Keep beans away from the alliums (onions).
What is a Brassica?

Members of brassica commonly used for food include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and Turnips


Beets: Good for adding minerals to the soil. The leaves are composed of 25% magnesium making them a valuable addition to the compost pile if you don't care to eat them. Beets are also beneficial to beans with the exception of runner beans. Runner or pole beans and beets stunt each other's growth. Companions for beets are lettuce, onions and brassicas. Beets and kohlrabi grow perfectly together. Beets are helped by garlic and mints. Garlic improves growth and flavor. Rather than planting invasive mints around beets use your mint clippings as a mulch. 

Broccoli: Companions for broccoli are: Basil, Bush Beans, Cucumber, Dill, Garlic, Hyssop, Lettuce, Marigold, Mint, Nasturtium, Onion, Potato, Radish, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Tomato. Celery, onions and potatoes improve broccolis' flavor when planted near it. Broccoli loves plenty of calcium. Pairing it with plants that need little calcium is a good combination such as nasturtiums and beets. Put the nasturtiums right under the broccoli plants. Herbs such as rosemary, dill and sage help repel pests with their distinct aromas. Foes: Grapes, strawberries, mustards and rue.

Cabbage: Celery, dill, onions and potatoes are good companion plants. Celery improves growth and health. Clover interplanted with cabbage has been shown to reduce the native cabbage aphid and cabbageworm populations by interfering with the colonization of the pests and increasing the number of predatory ground beetles. Plant Chamomile with cabbage as it Improves growth and flavor. Cabbage does not get along with strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, rue, grapes, lettuce and pole beans.

Carrots: Their pals are leaf lettuce, onions and tomatoes. Plant dill and parsnips away from carrots. Flax produces an oil that may protect root vegetables like carrots from some pests. One drawback with tomatoes and carrots: tomato plants can stunt the growth of your carrots but the carrots will still be of good flavor.  
Cauliflower:  Plant with Peas, beans, celery and oregano  (Peas and beans help fix nitrogen to supply to cauliflowers)
Avoid planting Cauliflower with Nasturtium, potato, strawberry and tomato.

Chards: Companions include Bean, cabbage family, tomato, onion and roses. Don't overlook chard's value as an ornamental plant in flower beds or wherever you have room for it. Don't grow chard near cucurbits, melons, corn or herbs.

CHIVES:  Adding chive to your garden where you grow parsley, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, kohlrabi, mustard, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, roses, squash, strawberries or tomatoes will help those plants. Companion planting chive with carrots will improve both the growth and flavor of your carrots. Grapes benefit from chive’s ability to repel aphids.

Beets and carrots are good companion plants for chives. When chives are planted near carrots that have been allowed to bloom, it confuses both onion and carrot flies. Wild carrot or Queen Anne’s Lace will provide a lovely addition to your garden and provide the same benefits.


Corn: Amaranth, beans, cucumber, white geranium, lamb's quarters, melons, morning glory, parsley, peanuts, peas, potato, pumpkin, soybeans, squash and sunflower. A classic example is to grow climbing beans up corn while inter-planting pumpkins. The corn provides a natural trellis for the beans, pumpkins smother the weeds and helps corn roots retain moisture. Corn is a heavy feeder and the beans fix nitrogen from air into the soil however the beans do not feed the corn while it is growing. When the bean plants die back they return nitrogen to the soil that was used up by the corn. A win-win situation. Another interesting helper for corn is the weed Pig's Thistle which raises nutrients from the subsoil to where the corn can reach them. Keep corn away from celery and tomato plants by at least 20 feet.

Cucumber: Cucumbers are great to plant with corn and beans. The three plants like the same conditions: warmth, rich soil and plenty of moisture. Let the cucumbers grow up and over your corn plants. Cukes also do well with peas, beets, radishes and carrots. Radishes are a good deterrent against cucumber beetles. Dill planted with cucumbers helps by attracting beneficial predators. Nasturtium improves growth and flavor. Keep sage, potatoes and rue away from cucumbers.

Eggplant: Plant with amaranth, beans, peas, spinach, tarragon, thyme and marigold. Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and does well with peppers as they like the same growing conditions.

Leeks: Use leeks near apple trees, carrots, celery and onions which will improve their growth. Leeks also repel carrot flies. Avoid planting near legumes.

Lettuce: Does well with beets, broccoli, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, cucumbers, onion, radish and strawberries. It grows happily in the shade under young sunflowers. Dill and lettuce are a perfect pair. Keep lettuce away from cabbage. Cabbage is a deterrent to the growth and flavor of lettuce.

Melon: Companions are Corn, pumpkin, radish and squash. Other suggested helpers for melons are as follows: Marigold deters beetles, nasturtium  deters bugs and beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection. 

Onion: Planting chamomile and summer savory with onions improves their flavor. Other companions are  carrot, leek, beets, kohlrabi, strawberries, brassicas, dill, lettuce and tomatoes. Intercropping onions and leeks with your carrots confuses the carrot and onion flies! Onions planted with strawberries help the berries fight disease. Keep onions away from peas and asparagus.

Peas:  Plant with Beans, carrot, corn, cucumber, radish, turnips, SAGE, spinach, mint and potatoes.  Avoid planting with Onions and garlic. 

Peppers, Bell (Sweet Peppers): Plant peppers near tomatoes, parsley, basil, geraniums, marjoram, lovage, petunia and carrots. Onions make an excellent companion plant for peppers. They do quite well with okra as it shelters them and protects the brittle stems from wind. Don't plant them near fennel or kohlrabi. They should also not be grown near apricot trees because a fungus that the pepper is prone to can cause a lot of harm to the apricot tree. Peppers can double as ornamentals, so tuck some into flowerbeds and borders. Peppers can be harvested at any stage of growth, but their flavor doesn't fully develop until maturity.

Peppers, Hot: Chili peppers have root exudates that prevent root rot and other Fusarium diseases. Plant anywhere you have these problems. While you should always plant chili peppers close together, providing shelter from the sun with other plants will help keep them from drying out and provide more humidity. Tomato plants, green peppers, and okra are good protection for them. Teas made from hot peppers can be useful as insect sprays. Hot peppers like to be grouped with cucumbers, eggplant, escarole, tomato, okra, Swiss chard and squash. Herbs to plant near them include: basils, oregano, parsley and rosemary. Never put them next to any beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or fennel.

Pumpkin: Friends of pumpkin include corn, melon and squash. Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters bugs, beetles . Oregano provides general pest protection. Again dill may help repel those frustrating squash bugs. See squash entry for more tips.

Radish: Companions for radishes are beet, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, chervil, cucumber, lettuce, melons, nasturtium, parsnip, peas, spinach and members of the squash family. Radishes may protect squash from squash borers. Anything that will help keep them away is worth a try. Radishes are a deterrent against cucumber beetles and rust flies. Chervil and nasturtium improve radish growth and flavor. Planting them around corn and letting them go to seed will also help fight corn borers. Chinese Daikon and Snow Belle radishes are favorites of flea beetles. Plant these at 6 to 12 inch intervals amongst broccoli. In one trial, this measurably reduced damage to broccoli. Radishes will lure leafminers away from spinach. The damage the leafminers do to radish leaves does not stop the radish roots from growing, a win-win situation. Keep radishes away from hyssop plants, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and turnips. Radishes are a good indicator of calcium levels in the soil. If your radish grows and only produces a stringy root you need calcium.

Spinach: Plant with peas and beans as they provide natural shade for the spinach. Gets along with cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, onion, peas, strawberries and fava bean. Plant spinach with squash. It's a good use of space because by the time squash plants start to get big the spinach is ready to bolt. 

Squash: Companions: Beans, corn, cucumbers, icicle radishes, melon, mint, onions and pumpkin. Helpers: Borage deters worms, improves growth and flavor. Marigolds deters beetle. Nasturtium deters squash bugs and beetles.
Oregano provides general pest protection. Dill may repel the squash bug that will kill your squash vines. Generously scatter the dill leaves on your squash plants. Keep squash away from potatoes.
Tomatoes: Friends of tomatoes are many and include: asparagus, basil, bean, carrots, celery, chive, cucumber, garlic, head lettuce, marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley, pea, pepper, marigold, pot marigold and sow thistle. One drawback with tomatoes and carrots: tomato plants can stunt the growth of your carrots but the carrots will still be of good flavor. Basil repels flies and mosquitoes, improves growth and flavor. Bee balm, chives and mint improve health and flavor. Borage deters tomato worm, improves growth and flavor.
  Dill, until mature, improves growth and health, mature dill stunts tomato growth. Enemies: corn and tomato are attacked by the same worm. Kohlrabi stunts tomato growth. Keep potatoes and tomatoes apart as they both can get early and late blight contaminating each other. Keep apricot, dill, fennel, cabbage and cauliflower away from them. Don't plant them under walnut trees as they will get walnut wilt: a disease that attacks tomatoes growing underneath these trees.